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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Teaching about character traits

As we have entered the month of August, every teacher, whether she likes it or not, starts thinking about school.  Some of us have dreams (or nightmares).  Some of us go on a Pinterest spree.  We walk through Target and ask ourselves "What do I 'need' from the dollar section?"

You don't do this?  Okay, maybe it's just me.  Anyway, we are also thinking about what were some of our students' challenges last year, and how we will address them this year.  My third and fourth graders had difficulty with vocabulary and making inferences, which was evident in how they would describe their characters:

Nice

Mean

Sad

Oh my.



So late last school year, I developed this chart of character traits with the intention of helping students organize their thinking when selecting a character trait. Traits are arranged in alphabetical order in the following categories: nice/mean/sad, confident/nervous, and does a lot/does very little. The rest of the categories are partially alphabetical and having a corresponding opposite.


This year I will be teaching second graders, so I'm thinking how I will adjust this chart to better suit their developmental abilities:  Less words?  Words that are more relevant to a second grade schema?  Some pictures or graphics to support the vocabulary?  Some food for my thought...

Many teachers or parents who have downloaded this chart seemed very happy, and I'm happy that they're happy!!

39 comments:

  1. Thank you I am HAPPY! I downloaded & rated! Thank you, very helpful!
    Thanks,
    Nancy
    The Apple Basket Teacher

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  2. Hi Nancy! Thanks so much for your lovely feedback!

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  4. I'm doing character traits this week with my kids and this is a GREAT list! Thanks!!

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  5. You're very welcome! Thanks for visiting!

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  6. Replies
    1. You're so welcome! Thanks for the feedback!

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  7. Love your character trait chart! Stealing and using! Thx!!!!

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  9. I teach 2nd grade, as well and think this chart is okay. The child will be able to gravitate towards they word they are more comfortable with using. It kind of lends to differentiating itself. I think it's great- thanks!

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  10. This is fantastic! We've been working on Character Traits this week and I have been racking my brain on what to do next.. Thanks so much!

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    1. You are so welcome! I'm so glad that's helpful!!

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  11. This is wonderful! Did you ever simplify this chart? I have a first and second grade combo class, and it is a little hard for the second graders now, but they can handle it. However, the first graders are pretty overwhelmed with it! If you have it simplified and are willing to share, please let me know!
    Thanks,
    Heidi

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    1. Hello Heidi,

      I haven't really visualized how a character list for 1st and 2nd grade students might look like so that it's developmentally appropriate, easy to navigate, and visually appealing. But it's on my very long to-do list! Thank you so much for your input! In the coming months, I hope to upload a few new creations...

      Workshop Classroom

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  12. I love your list, particularly the differentiated sections. I teach yr 2 and the list I have found too exhaustive in previous years, but in a "shower" moment I began to think about using speech bubbles with the trait and what it means so the kids can link them to a character in a book and the actions and then their own characters when writing.
    Hoping to use it in the coming week I'll let you know if it is successful.
    Thanks again, all the resources are fantastic.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words! I'm glad the resource is helpful. And sometimes I get my best ideas at the oddest times! Please share with all of us the results of your lesson.

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  13. Very well organized, making it easy for students to use.

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  14. Resources well articulated. Sure will run through year2-4. Thanks for reaching out. More than helpful.

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  15. Resources well articulated. Sure will run through year2-4. Thanks for reaching out. More than helpful.

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  16. Resources well articulated. Sure will run through year2-4. Thanks for reaching out. More than helpful.

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  17. I love you idea and wanted to share mine with you.
    Demonstrating depth of knowledge about the characters in the story/novel/play
    Bag of Nuts

    *** Be mindful of nut allergies- a bowl of fruit, veggies, crackers, cereals could be substituted***
    As a formative means of assessing the depth of knowledge your students have regarding the characters they are encountering in the story, novel, essay, movie, play or other media presentation. Using a bag of mixed nuts students choose a representative for each character and defend why they have chosen that particular nut.
    • Display nuts that are cracked and open
    • Distribute bags of mixed nuts to each student/pair/group.
    • Consider having a nut tasting as well
    Task-
    • Choose the nut that you believe best represents that main character and list or prepare to share all the reasons why you chose that particular nut.

    Ex. The shell of this nut is light in color, with a grainy and pitted surface. The light color represents main character’s free spirit, he sees the best in life and those around him. The grainy aspect of the shell reminds me of the years of experiences that make him who he is, the pits indicate that battles he has fought and lost. Because the pits are sporadic, and pin points they are clearly visible just as each of the fights he had growing up and as a man. They do not combine to form a huge whole but instead are spread out between the grainy and light connective shell, just as this characters daily positive outlook carriers him though life. The inside nut is solid, whole and fills the cavity mirroring the shape of the shell with a wider more rounded end opposite a narrowing point which reflects the character’s purpose. He is confident and pursues his passion as is the pointed end and grounded by experiences filling the other heavier end. The nut taste buttery at first but has a very slight acidy or bitter after taste. This too is indicative of the main character as his desire is to live in the positive, see the glass as half full and embrace the best while tamping down the memories and encounters with pain he has endured, following that same taste sensation.

    • Do the same for each character-
    • Students can present their defense orally or in writing
    • Extension: Similes and metaphors can be identified and generated from this activity.

    Best,
    Cheri

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